We recently did a cursory study of the “four winds of the earth” and how they unfolded over history. Next, we will cover how the sealing of the bondservants is taking place at this time, and how they will keep from taking “the mark of the beast.”
First, the Lord assures us that none can be plucked from His hand. Satan cannot steal what God is protecting, and neither can he put his seal over God’s seal. The important issue is how we abide in God’s protection, and how we avoid taking the devil’s mark of the beast, being sealed as God’s bondservant.
We previously studied how a maturing Christian goes through five levels of relationship to God. These are: believer, disciple, bondservant, friend, and son/daughter of God. Being a believer is wonderful, and those who embrace Jesus as Savior and His cross for the propitiation of sins have eternal life. Yet, the Great Commission was to make disciples, not just converts. Few believers go on to be the Lord’s disciple, according to His definition of a disciple. Fewer still go beyond being a disciple to being a true bondservant.
In the beginning of this study of Revelation, we covered the basics of what a bondservant of Christ is, because Revelation was given to the Lord to give to His bondservants. For this reason, only those who are true bondservants can fully understand Revelation. So, understanding and embracing this calling is crucial. We will review those basics to make the necessary connection to this text.
Our relationship with Christ on every level is more than just knowing it, saying it, or claiming it—it must be a reality in our life. It does not do us any good to say we believe in Christ if we do not actually believe in Him. His teachings lay out what His true followers would be like and do. Likewise, to claim to be His bondservant does not do us any good if we do not live the life of a bondservant. Our goal must be more than just understanding the life of a bondservant—our goal must be to live it.
The word “bondservant” is a nicer way to say “slave.” The bondservant of Christ is the slave of Christ. A slave has nothing of his own, including time, money, resources, and even their family. We become bondservants when we give everything to Him and hold nothing back, as the Lord stated in Luke 14:33: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
Under the Old Covenant, slaves were allowed but servitude was conditional and had an expiration date. If the time came for a slave to be freed but they loved their master and wanted to remain in their service, they could choose to do so. When they did this, they were taken to the doorway of the tent of meeting and were marked by the priest as a permanent slave of their master.
Likewise, we must choose to become the Lord’s bondservant. He will not force this on anyone. We were bought with a price and we are not our own. We must choose to live the life of total commitment. When we do this, He marks us as His bondservant. We see this mark that the Lord puts upon His faithful ones even in Old Testament times.
We see that the beast is an economic power, and his mark is an economic mark that determines if we can “buy, sell, or trade.” This is because economic power is the dominant power at the end of this age. The Lord called the end of the age “the harvest,” which is when all seeds sown in man mature, the good and the evil. So this will be the time when darkness is in full maturity, but also the light.
The ultimate darkness is contained in a dominant economic system because money is an ultimate idol of the human heart. This is the primary thing people put their trust in instead of God. Economics is a major place that determines who we really belong to.
Bob Dylan got it right when he wrote the song, “You Gotta Serve Somebody.” Believe it or not, like it or not, everyone on earth is a slave. We are either slaves to sin and evil or we are a slave of Christ. Many are trying to negotiate a deal between the two, but the closer we get to the end of this age, the less people will be able to waver between the two. Right now, we are in the time called “the valley of decision,” and the decision is who we will serve.
We will dig down a bit more on this next week, but do not let a day go by without seeking to abide in the protection of the Lord by growing your trust in Him. Do this by seeking to be the best disciple you can be. Make knowing Him and His ways the top priority of your life. Then apply this knowledge by resolving each day to be a better servant of the Lord, living to do His will.